This experiment tests a process developed by Andrew Baldwin in which icing sugar is used to create an aquatint. Using a cake sieve, the icing sugar is dusted onto a grounded plate. An important variable that was tested was to let the heap of sugar sit on the plate for 5 minutes before tapping the excess off.
Date: May 1, 2012
Researcher’s Name: Andrea Santos & Mary Clark
Plate Material: .032 copper
Plate Size: 3 x 4″
Room Temperature: 67, moderately humid
Plate was degreased with Bon Ami powder and soy sauce that was rubbed onto surface with a scrap of rolled felt. The plate was rinsed under running water and dried by blotting on newsprint and using a blowdryer. A thin layer of BIG ground was rolled out on a glass slab using a 10″ brayer. The ground was rolled onto the plate in all directions to apply a thin even coat. The oven was preheated at 240 degrees on the ‘convention’ setting. Plate was set aside as sugar get prepared. About 1/2 cup of Tate & Lyle icing sugar was placed on the top of the mesh of a cake sifter. The sugar was pre-sifted by letting it dust onto newsprint to get it to be a very fine powder. The sifted sugar was then placed back onto the top of the sifter. Placing the plate flat and directly underneath the sifter, the sifter was shaken side-to-side to allow the sugar to fall onto plate. This was continued until the plate was completely covered in sugar and no red of the ground could be seen through the layer of white sugar on surface. The plate was then left alone for 5 minutes with the pile of sugar sitting on top of it. Plate was then lifted vertically and tapped on all four edges against the table to remove excess sugar. The plate was then left alone again for 30 minutes. The appearance of the plate surface was even with some slightly darker pink areas towards the edges.
The plate was placed in preheated oven and cooked for 6 minutes. After baking, plate was left alone for one hour. At that point, plate surface felt room temperature and sugar had hardened.
Using a tray and warm water (tap hot), plate was submerged and repeatedly rinsed to dissolve sugar. The tray was continuously tilted to move water over surface and new water was replaced every few minutes. Plate was also moved around directly under the sink faucet.
After sugar was rinsed from plate, it was dried by blotting on newsprint and backed with contact paper. The plate was then submerged in salt and vinegar to remove any oxidation. Plate was placed flat into a tray of ferric to etch for 10 minutes. While plate was in tray, acid was carefully sloshed from side to side to avoid having bubbles form on the surface which would result as a resist.
Timed Application of Mordant
Removal of Grounds
Grounds were removed immediately after rinsing the plate with soy solve and a rag. The plate was then dipped in salt and vinegar bath to remove oxidation, blotted with newsprint and blowdried before inking.
After Bath Evaluation
When pulling plate out of the acid tray, the ground had flaked off of the edges so that only some of the ground remained on the plate. The plate was immediately cleaned with soy solve as to not let ground stick to plate.
Plate was inked using Graphic Chemical bone black. The ink was carded on with mat board scraps, wiped in gentle circular motions with used tarletan and palm wiped.
Paper Type: Hahnemuhle
Paper Soaking Time: 1 hour
Press Blanket Setup: brand, 2 blankets, 2.6 pressure
The proof was a light-to-medium gray. Looking through the magnifier, there were a lot more white open spaces compared to black, etched dots. It was possible that the issue goes back to grounding the plate poorly.